Root Canal or a Will?
Hmmmm ... would you rather get a root canal or
cra; a will? According to a Harris Interactive Survey,
a third of those asked would prefer the root canal! A
2016 Google Survey found that 63 percent of Americans die without a will (that’s called dying “
intestate”), and that 63 percent doesn’t include the almost
nine percent who have wills, but they are out of date
because circumstances have changed.
None of us wants to think about dying. And, if
you’re okay with your state’s rules if you die intestate,
perhaps you don’t need a will. To check what the
rules are in your state, enter “What happens in (put
in the name of your state) if you die without a will?”
into your search engine.
Do It Yourself?
If your situation is simple and you don’t own
a business, perhaps you can create a will yourself,
using so;ware such as Quicken WillMakerPlus 2017
(around $50), or the no-cost Wills4free.com (click
on “WillMaker”). Alternatively, you can pay for an
estate attorney to create a will or to review a will you
have created, which should result in a lower fee than
if he or she created a will from scratch.
Keep in mind that some valuable assets don’t
go through your will, such as life insurance and
retirement plans with designated bene;ciaries, and
jointly-owned property with right of survivorship.
And, if you have a joint bank account, the joint
account holder’s right to the money in the account
usually takes precedence over anything in a will.
Once you have ;nished your will, including having your signature witnessed, and in some states notarized, put it in a secure place like a safe deposit box
or a ;reproof safe in your home. Be sure to update
your will if life circumstances change, such as remarrying or ;nding a new charity you’d like to support. ;en, destroy any old versions of your will. And
... be sure to tell the appropriate people the location
of your will!
Jan Cullinane is an award-winning retirement author, speaker, and consultant. Her current
book is The Single Woman’s Guide to Retirement (AARP/Wiley).